The energy group Uniper, which was hit by the Russian gas supply freeze, is expected to be majority-taken over by the federal government. A new stabilization package provides for the federal government to buy the Uniper shares currently held by Fortum, as Germany’s largest gas importer announced in Düsseldorf on Tuesday. "As a result, it is intended that the federal government will receive a significant majority stake in Uniper," it said. A capital increase of eight billion euros is also planned, which is to be subscribed exclusively by the federal government.
Uniper emphasized that the final agreement has not yet been concluded. One is in final talks with the federal government and Fortum about changing the previous stabilization package. The Finnish energy group Fortum currently holds almost 78 percent of Uniper. Nothing was known about the possible purchase price. Fortum itself is almost 51 percent owned by the Finnish state.
The majority stake of the federal government had been apparent since last week. On September 14, Uniper announced that during the talks about the stabilization package presented at the end of July, a capital increase would also be examined that would lead to the federal government taking a “significant majority stake” in Uniper. In July, the federal government, Uniper and Fortum agreed on a billion-euro rescue package, which already provided for a less extensive involvement of the federal government.
Uniper is in trouble because Russia is no longer pumping gas to Germany. The gas wholesaler is a supplier to over 100 municipal utilities and large companies and thus plays a central role in Germany's gas supply. The company now has to buy the missing gas expensively on the gas market. The pipeline gas from Russia was comparatively cheap. Because of the delivery stop, the prices have now multiplied.
The head of the Uniper group works council, Harald Seegatz, welcomed the foreseeable entry of the state into Uniper. "We need the state as the main shareholder in order to survive the gas crisis and to master the energy transition in the long term," Seegatz told the Düsseldorf "Rheinische Post" (Wednesday). Seegatz expects the state to be involved for a long time: "The state will be required to do this at Uniper in the long term, because Germany's switch from natural gas to hydrogen will take a few years, and Uniper should and wants to play a major role in shaping it."
In the past, the federal government has supported companies financially on several occasions, for example in the Corona crisis of the airline Lufthansa or the travel provider Tui. Under the pressure of the financial crisis, the state took a stake in Commerzbank in early 2009.